Leicester City’s Riyad Mahrez has been named PFA Player of the Year. The playmaker has been a shining light in the Premier League this campaign and has tilted Leicester City towards a fairytale Premier League title.
The Algerian has scored 17 goals and 11 assists, beating off competition from his team-mates and Premier League rivals in what has been a breathtaking season.
Mahrez was nominated for the award alongside his Leicester team mates, Jamie Vardy and N’Golo Kante, with Harry Kane, Mesut Ozil and Dimitri Payet making up the shortlist which is voted for by fellow Premier League players.
The accolade caps off an incredible rise to Premier League stardom for the Algerian. Mahrez wasn’t picked up by an academy until the age of nineteen and three seasons ago, Mahrez was playing in the second tier of French football for Le Havre.
Riyad was born in France to parents of Moroccan and Algerian descent and grew up in Sarcelles, a northern suburb in Paris. Despite being born in France, Mahrez opted to play for Algeria, the birthplace of his late father, who he went on to represent at the 2014 FIFA World Cup.
Leicester City took a punt on the 25 year-old in January 2014 and by the end of his first season, Mahrez had helped Leicester win the Championship and clinch promotion to the Premier League.
Last season Mahrez finished the campaign with four goals and three assists as Leicester went on to win seven of their last nine games to avoid relegation.
However, under Claudio Ranieri this season has been a different story. Leicester began the season as the favourites to be relegated, with new manager, Ranieri the bookmakers favourite to be sacked first.
However, Claudio ‘The Tinkerman’ Ranieri, has transformed the club and defied all the odds in what has been the biggest Premier League upset in history.
Mahrez has become one of the most valuable players in Europe and after signing for £450,000 million, his value has rocketed to well over £30 million.
Since he came to England, the playmaker has become one of the league’s finest talents. On first glance you would think that Mahrez is too lightweight for the physical nature of the Premier League, but Mahrez has shrugged off that claim and outmuscled, outwitted and outshone many Premier League defences this campaign.
The winger has been a force to behold this season in the Premier League and his ability to use either foot, ghost past opponents and deliver a ball into the box for his team mates is a little insight into what the Algerian can offer.
Mahrez has been a vital cog in the Leicester City engine this season and his contribution to the team has helped them secure Champions League Football at the King Power Stadium next season.
His formidable partnership with Jamie Vardy has been the key factor in Leicester City’s rise to stardom making him a worthy winner.
Mahrez joins an illustrious list of Premier League greats who have won the award: Thierry Henry, Dennis Bergkamp, Luis Suarez and Cristiano Ronaldo, to name a few.
Meanwhile, Tottenham Hotspur’s Dele Alli won the PFA Young Player of the Year and Jamie Vardy was recognised for his goalscoring feat which saw him set a new Premier League record by scoring in eleven consecutive league matches.
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